A Good PF Story (Fingers Crossed)Posted by Rudy C on 1/19/04 at 19:01 (142397)
I found this site about three years ago when I started experiencing PF in my left foot. About a year before that, I went through a few months of pain in my right foot that went away after a few months of taping and rest. But the left foot pain wasn't going away, and it had been a long time since it started. I couldn't walk or stand for long periods of time, and even after short stints of activity my feet would feel like they were burning and I would experience sharp 'tearing pains , most of the time along the entire length of my foot.
So I found this site in hopes that I could figure out what to do to get better. I have mostly only read the discussions here and very occasionally have posted messages. I realized that even though I had had a pretty painful and frustrating time with PF, there were others worse off than me. The reason I'm posting now is to pass on a good PF story, (knock on wood) in order to give hope to those of you still in the acute and chronic stages of PF.
After a few years of pain in one foot or another, I'm cautiously happy to report that for about the last year, I have not experienced any pain in my feet while going about my daily activities, and last summer, I even started playing tennis again after about two years away from the game, and I made a couple of vacation trips that involved lots of walking and standing. I also started playing golf again and now walk the course, whereas a couple of years ago I couldn't play even if I rode around in a golf cart. Nowadays, after periods of considerable walking or running, I sometimes feel something like tingling or faint twinges along the soles of my feet. When that happens, I get a little worried that I'm going to relapse, but that hasn't happened so far.
Even though I've been more active, I don't have 100% confidence that I'm completely back to normal. I still try to be careful by not putting my feet in a position where they are flexed back toward my upper body for too long a period of time, unless I'm doing careful stretches for my hamstrings and calves. For example, when I am walking up a steep slope, I splay my toes out laterally a little bit. This makes my feet feel a little safer. Maybe it's a mental thing, where I'm kind of hesitant to not hold back. I don't know. Eventually, I hope to get to the point where I don't have to do that, through increased flexibility of my calves and hamstrings. I have worked on getting more flexible, but these efforts haven't always been consistent.
Here are some of the things that may have helped me get better:
I went to see a podiatrist some months after my left foot began hurting. He recommended some stretches and said that if the pain persisted, he would recommend an orthotic that would have been about $300. Through a friend, I heard about a shoe store that specializes in athletic shoes and sports medicine products. There I was fitted with Amfit orthotics that were about $170, and a pair of Asics' most stable, flat lasted running shoes (Asics Gel Plus II, I think). I used these alot for a while. Now I only wear shoes that are stable and flat lasted, in order to fit my orthotics. And I wear the orthotics 24/7. I don't know if that last thing is good or not. Maybe at some point I should start to wean myself away from them. All I know is that if I walk around without them for more than about an hour, my feet start to feel pretty tired. Not exactly painful, but worn out.
I decided to stop trying to play tennis and golf, in order to help my feet recover, and not make my injury worse. I made an effort to not put myself in a position where I would have to walk or stand for long periods of time.
There was some discussion on this forum a long while back about the role calcium deficiency may play in preventing PF from going away, due to the increased porousness of the heel bone, and its inability to provide sufficient surface area for the fascia to re-attach itself. Also at issue was the idea that carbonated beverages rob your body of calcium. I cut down significantly on my intake of carbonated beverages. Whereas I used to drink at least one of these drinks per day, if not more, now I may drink at most two per week, and I take a calcium/magnesium/zinc supplement capsule each day.
For a few months, I would vigorously roll a tennis ball along the bottom of my feet, in order to break up scar tissue that might have built up there. Now my feet don't feel as tight as they used to.
When I'm good, I do gentle calf and hamstring stretches. This is one area where I have to be more disciplined in order to prevent a relapse. I know that in order to have complete confidence in my feet again, I have to become more flexible, and stay that way from now on. Currently I push my feet to do maybe about 85 % of what they were capable before PF. More flexibility might help me get closer to 100 %.
I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that I continue to remain pain-free. I don't know which of the things I mentioned above has helped me the most, or if it has been a combination of them. If anybody out there has gone a while without pain, I would be interested to hear about what they have done to get that way. Have you had relapses? For how long? What did you do to get better?
Re: A Good PF Story (Fingers Crossed)R C on 1/20/04 at 10:23 (142442)
Thank you for sharing your story, I am glad of your progress. With respect to your questions, I will shortly post under separate thread (something I promised to do several weeks ago).
Re: A Good PF Story (Fingers Crossed)Kathy G on 1/21/04 at 08:40 (142526)
That's an encouraging story. It sounds as though you really 'listened' to your feet and aggressively treated your PF. I applaud your efforts and your success!
I can't speak for myself since I have some other issues besides PF but I do know how my son, who had PF, has done. He's a tennis pro and very active outside of his job, as well. He did much the same as you, although he never added the calcium. He takes a multivitamin/mineral supplement daily. He also saw a Podiatrist. He, too, wears his custom orthotics on the job and his Superfeet while not working. He says he was fortunate that his profession allowed him to wear shoes that were appropriate for his condition. Early in his PF, he iced whenever possible, and he took Vioxx.
He still does Julie's Yoga Stretches a few times a day and uses a tilt board that someone at his club brought in for him. Once he 'came out of the closet' with PF, he was amazed to find out how many club members had it!
Besides playing tennis, he fishes, plays golf, swims and surfs. He says that he has few problems with his feet now but that when he has to really reach to return a serve and thus flex his feet, they start to hurt. Luckily, he spends most of his day teaching children so he doesn't have to get into that position very often. Actually, I'll have to ask him but I don't think he plays much tennis other than when he's instructing.
I'm totally amazed that surfing doesn't hurt is feet but he says it doesn't. He primarily surfs in the winter as that's when surfing is best here in New England. He wears a dry suit and booties. Maybe the booties protect his feet, although they can't actually give much support. But he says that even his summer surfing hasn't hurt his feet.
I think he would say that two years after getting PF, he's about 90% cured. I don't think that's bad. From what I've noticed on these boards, PF never goes away completely but as long as one is aware of the condition, and pays attention to the little twinges, it doesn't come back as full-blown PF in 95% of the cases.
I hope your progress continues!
Re: A Good PF Story (Fingers Crossed)Rudy C on 1/21/04 at 11:36 (142543)
RC and Kathy,
Thank you both for your responses. It's encouraging and informative to hear about other people's experiences. What you say about minor PF symptoms (twinges) never completely going away, or always being little lingering reminders, is something I also have read about here. That's not an ideal thing, but it sure beats the acute stages of PF. At least now I can be almost as active as I used to be, even if I have to be more careful with my feet than before.